Mt. Hope hosts the 'Super Bowl of Horse Sales'

Mt. Hope hosts the 'Super Bowl of Horse Sales'
Dave Mast

Masterpiece, a horse consigned by Myron Yoder and Robert Miller of Millersburg, led the annual Mid-Ohio Memorial Trotting Sale off on the right foot, bringing $82,500 during the Friday, May 24 sale in Mt. Hope.


While the grounds at Mt. Hope Auction were flooded with horses on Friday, May 24, there was no horsing around when it came to patrons focused in on landing the horses they had their eyes on.

The seventh annual Mid-Ohio Memorial Trotting Sale brought a number of people to the Mt. Hope Auction facility for what has become one of the premier trotting horse sales in the nation.

“This has become kind of the Super Bowl of the driving horse,” promoter Robert Hershberger said. “People will find some of the finest trotters in North America here at this auction.”

So much so that people travel in from every corner of the nation to partake in the bidding that takes place as driver after driver ushers out a list of trotters for the masses to view around the outdoor circuit on the south side of the grounds.

Hershberger said in order to get the word out around the nation concerning the sale, they do a ton of advertising through national magazines. That, along with word of mouth that has simply blossomed over the past seven years, is enough to create a fervor around the quality of the horses for sale at the auction.

In order to uphold the image of the top-quality show they want to produce, they have the finest auctioneers and ring crews. "And we have the nation’s top consigners here,” Hershberger said. “This has become something where the whole horse industry is kind of based on what takes place here over this weekend in terms of setting the market for top-quality horses.”

Hershberger said the Mid-Ohio Memorial Trotting Sale has produced three world champion roadster show horses and hundreds of trotters and driving horses, and each time one is brought up for auction, bidders have all of the sire information and other pertinent details of each horse at their disposal in the show booklet.

This year the sale wasted no time in bringing one of its top horses to the forefront of the auction: Masterpiece, consigned by Myron Yoder and Robert Miller of Millersburg and sired by Ozzy Ozzy, a highly desirous sire.

Bidding took off, and eventually Masterpiece sold for $82,500.

“That’s the high end,” Hershberger said. “But we have a huge number of really high-quality horses that will be sold. We have some really great breeding stock here that draws a lot of interest.”

On the heels of Masterpiece came Divide N Conquer, sired by Deweycheatumandhowe and consigned by David Miller of Cub Run, Kentucky. It went for $37,500, and the auction was off and running.

During the day, horses consigned from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and all over Ohio were paraded in front of the huge crowd, each one drawing plenty of interest from multiple bidders.

While expensive trotting horses are a highlight, Hershberger said the committee feels the ongoing quality of dependable buggy horses is every bit as important to the success of the sale. He noted that the demand for quality buggy horses has grown over the past several years and with it has grown the amount people willing to pay for a horse they know will be dependable and healthy.

Hershberger also said that in addition to the high quality of the horses is the credibility, knowledge of professionalism of the consigners who bring the horses to the sale.

“The buggy horses are the backbone of our sale, and we have consigners who are really dedicated to bring horses to auction that are safe, well broken and from great pedigrees,” Hershberger said.

Hershberger said when they first put this auction together seven years ago, it was nowhere near the magnitude of what it has become in a very short period of time.

“Never would we have dreamt that it would become this big this fast,” Hershberger said.

Hershberger said they still have one concern that proves to be the biggest worry each year.

“I’ve lost plenty of sleep worrying about the weather,” he said. “I don’t know what we would do with 10,000-plus people if it would storm. That is the one thing we just can’t control, and it is one of the biggest concerns we face every year.”

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